Warning: SPOILERS for Synchronic are ahead!
Soon after the 2019 Sci-Fi thriller Synchronic was widely released on Netflix in April of 2021, the film's surprising ending became a topic of online discussion.
The plot focuses on two late-shift paramedics, terminally-ill singleton Steve Denube (Anthony Mackie) and family man Dennis Dannelly (Jamie Dornan), who begin to notice a pattern of calls to mysterious crime scenes.
The two soon determine that all of the cases have one thing in common: the new designer drug Synchronic, which is popular among teens.
When Steve buys up the drug in an effort to keep it out of innocent hands, he realizes that some who take it have the ability to time travel. Meanwhile, Dennis is dealing with the fact that his own daughter, Brianna (Ally Ioannides), has gone missing, and she's linked to Synchronic use as well.
Between the time travel aspect and Steve's terminal illness, there's a lot to break down when it comes to the end of Synchronic.
How does 'Synchronic' conclude? The ending, explained.
As the childhood friends turned co-workers are called to the Synchronic cases, viewers learn that Steve is dying from an inoperable tumor on his pineal gland, and that Dennis is struggling in his marriage to Tara Dannelly (Katie Aselton).
Though Steve only has about six weeks to live when the film opens, the tumor has prevented his pineal gland from calcifying at a normal rate for his age. This means that Steve's pineal gland resembles that of a teenager.
At the fourth crime scene, which deals with an overdose, Dennis and Steve learn that Brianna had been there. Following her disappearance, Steve begins to take Synchronic regularly to try to figure out what could have happened to his pal's daughter.
The doctor who created the drug later informs Steve thay anyone with an uncalcified pineal gland can time travel while taking it. This explains why it has become so popular among teenagers.
Though Steve can move through history while on the drug because of his illness, Dennis cannot.
Steve decides to do whatever he can to find out what happened to Brianna, and he eventually figures out how to pick the time period he wants to go to.
At the end of the film, Dennis and Steve head to a boulder near where Brianna went missing. They think that she could have time traveled from that spot, and that she might have left a message behind.
They see the word "Allways" carved on the rock, which is the last thing that Dennis had said to his daughter. Steve believes that it's a sign that she left from there, and he takes one of the last two Synchronic pills to meet her.
Steve then heads back in time, and he's brought to a violent scene. He's reunited with Brianna, who has no memory of carving "Allways" into the rock.
He offers Brianna the final Synchronic pill so she can go back to her family in the present. As it's starting to kick in, Steve realizes that the time period he went back to was during the Civil War. He's confronted by someone who claims to be a slave owner, and it becomes evident that the violence and mass carnage in the scene are the results of a war battle.
Does Steve die at the end of 'Synchronic?'
In the final moments of Synchronic, Brianna and Dennis tearfully reunite in the present. Steve's life hangs in the balance, as there are no more Synchronic pills left, and the drug's creator has completed suicide.
Steve and Dennis manage to shake hands briefly, though they're in different time periods. The movie fades to black after the handshake, which leaves a few storylines unresolved.
Though the ending doesn't confirm whether Steve lives or dies, it suggests that he has come to terms with his impending demise. He was likely the one who made the "Allways" carving, which implies that he was willing to make those sacrifices all over again.
Many viewers weren't happy about how tragic the ending is for Steve, while others thought that it was a powerful way to tie the events together.
Synchronic is available to stream on Netflix now.